If you’ve been to Oahu, you’ve been to Honolulu, seen Waikiki and Diamond Head, and stood in humbled silence at the USS Arizona Memorial. If you haven’t, you need to. But once you’ve survived the madding crowd of metropolitan Honolulu, head north.
Up the H1 to H2, cut off to the King Kameha Highway and in an hour (plus or minus depending on traffic - which thins out considerably as you wend your way north) you’ll find coffee plantations and cattle ranches, fields of pineapples, uncrowded beaches and laid-back villages. Give into the temptation to pull off at Pupukea an “authentic” old town – but beware of bottom feeders and hoards of dishonest “homeless” who will break into your car for a cheap camera.
Further north marvel at the amenities of the venerable but well-maintained Turtle Beach Resort and its multitude of restaurants, cocktail lounges and swimming pools, all surrounded by an enormous and meticulously maintained golf course (you don’t have to be a resident to enjoy Kulima Cove – Queen Lili’uokalani’s favorite childhood swimming hole, and one of the safest beaches on Oahu).
Keep heading north and wonder at the incredible architecture of the LDS Temple of Hawaii, the BYU campus and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Wind farms on the right testify to things high-tech. Roadside stands selling tasty shrimp (pretty much anyway you want them: steamed with garlic, ginger, curry, coconut, tempura and fried) on the left, offer low-tech treats, and beautiful beachfront homes interspersed with Dog Patch shacks that would put a Haitian slum to shame, proclaim the diversity of lifestyle choices.